European Stars And Stripes Newspaper Archives Dec 19 1999, Page 4

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European Stars and Stripes (Newspaper) - December 19, 1999, Darmstadt, HessePage 4 stars and stripes sunday december 19, 1999 thank by Marion Callahan Heidelberg Bureau Mannheim Germany it s 5 . Saturday snoozing time for most of Spinelli Barracks. Lights Are aglow in one sprawl ing warehouse. Music playing. Soldiers shuffling. Pure synergy is a must to kick Start the daily sorting of 32,000 pounds of mail for soldiers working the busiest military regional Post office in Europe. It s a seven Day operation during the Christmas season and weekends just mean the alarm goes off at 4 . Instead of mid by Coffee and a willing Ness to get the Day started sol Diers from the 510th postal com Pany welcomed the parcel filled 40-foot trailer that aimed its rear at a re wed up conveyor Belt. Bring it on one eager sorter wholeheartedly invited. And so it unloaded packages boxes and mail sacks piled at least six feet High onto the elevated Maze of conveyor belts. Scan ners inventoried labelled items then moved the Orange yellow potato like sacks of mail into a Square pit to be emptied into Plas tic bins by another group of sol Diers. Boxes continued on to the Tail end of the Belt where Sorters hurriedly separated each piece into unit piles stacked on Metal shelves lining the warehouse watching the scene unfold Post office supervisor sgt. Carlos Cadena explained the importance of scanning. We Don t want a truck leaving the Airport with 800 pieces and arriving Here with 200. We re push ing 16,000 pounds of mail in each truckload and every piece has to be accounted that s where sgt. Gregory Noble comes in. He scans. He lifts. Scans and lifts. You can t let the bags beat you up said Noble describing the potential soreness from handling the hefty 30 to 70-Pound sacks. I Learned my lesson the first two Days on the he s been lifting weights Ever since. Not a lot of people know this operation is going on All the Callahan stars and stripes sgt. Gregory Noble of the 510th postal company in Mannheim Germany scans each mail sack and package being offloaded onto a conveyor Belt. He is one of 30 workers up at work by 5 . Saturday to sort mail during the busiest week of the year. Time said Noble who is working his third Christmas season. I m proud of what we do Here. It s hard work but people want to get their Holiday presents and Cook ies on first glance Cadena admits the work can seem monotonous. It s not he assures. The group experiences its share of adventures and misadventures. Sometimes the slightest change in routine can delay the mail sorting process for hours. A Call to the bomb squad is one of the them. At least once a month especially during the holidays a beeping package makes its Way Down the conveyor Belt and the entire warehouse of workers must evacuate. The explosive ordinance team is called. And the senders of the package Are Noti delayed us several hours one Day said Cadena. The Cul Prit a beeping fire truck. Custom ers Are supposed to take batteries out of toys before sending them. The goal each Day is to get All packages and mail sorted by 9 . So individual units from Man Nheim and Heidelberg can pick up their deliveries. If boxes Are damaged soldiers shift them to a pile where re wrap pers stand by armed with the proper packing materials. The general consensus is if you Aren t willing to sit on it or drop it from a table it needs to be repacked. Don t use scotch tape or mask ing tape warns expert Packer sgt. 1st class Diana Broussard who spots a damaged Box shelled in shredded Christmas paper and scraps of Clear tape. So much is piled on top of each other on that truck. People need to take better company commander capt. Dewitt Hardee said less than three percent of the total mail flow arrives know mail s a sensitive Issue. That s Why we take extra Steps to re wrap the packages for our customers he said. During the Holiday season extra Steps mean More hours and More workers. The volume of mail grows by the thousands be tween thanksgiving and Christ Mas. That Means a lot More work for the 510th.the company s first and second platoons sort from Spinelli for units in Heidelberg and Man Nheim while soldiers from the company s third platoon and fourth platoon sort from various centers scattered throughout Europe to get the mail to installations in Stuttgart Garmisch Livorno and people take for granted that their mail magically appears in their lock boxes said Battal Ion commander it. Col. Arthur strange toiling along the convey or Belt sorting boxes into unit piles. These soldiers Are the Unsung heroes of the passing by the group of lifters and Sorters Hardee adds they Are also the strongest. At every organizational Day we win the tug of War. 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